Remain MPs could block EU single market withdrawal post-Brexit

Posted On: 
6th June 2016

Pro-EU MPs could try to block Britain's withdrawal from the European single market if the nation votes for Brexit on 23 June, it has emerged.

MPs are concerned the UK could get a worse deal if it renegotiated trade with the EU
PA Images

Some 474 MPs who back a Remain vote are considering using the weight of their House of Commons majority out of fears a newly negotiated trade deal could be limited, the BBC reports.

But Vote Leave insisted MPs will be unable to "defy the will of the electorate" on key issues such as trade.

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Britain would have to keep its borders open to EU workers and continue sending cash to Brussels if it wanted to stay in the unfettered single market comprising 500 million consumers.

Pro-Remain Labour MP Stephen Kinnock told the BBC: "If the British people voted to leave the EU, that's one thing.

"But can we really say that they voted for the devastation and destruction of the entire exporting sector of our economy?

“I don't think you can necessarily say that there's a democratic mandate for that."

A minister told the broadcaster the plan was "not fantasy" but a "huge probability".

"The longer we move away from the referendum, the more the economic pressures will grow to keep some links with the single market," the minister said.

Another insisted the terms of the UK's exit negotiations with the bloc would be “entirely within my remit as a parliamentarian”.

And an SNP frontbencher said: "Parliament is not going to let [Brexit campaigners] Boris Johnson and Michael Gove get away with murder.

“I just don't think people are going to roll over, particularly on our trading relationship with the EU."

Many Leave campaigners back a limited free trade relationship with the EU, similar to the deal yet to be signed between Canada and the bloc.

Some Remain campaigners have suggested the UK should stay in the single market by continuing its membership of the European Economic Area, which includes Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.

A Vote Leave spokesperson said: "If you vote Leave, Britain will negotiate a British option which will end the supremacy of EU law and take back control of our borders and our democracy and our economy."

A Remain campaign spokesperson countered: "The Leave campaign can't tell us what would happen if we vote to leave.

“At every point, they have admitted they 'just don't know'. Leaving Europe would be a leap in the dark that would damage our economy, lead to price rises and job cuts.

“That's why we will be spending the next two and a half weeks campaigning for every vote to protect Britain's future."

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said: "We should respect the decision of the British people."